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Boy, nine months, is fighting a rare form of testicular cancer


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A nine-month-old boy is fighting a rare form of testicular cancer after his parents found a lump in his scrotum.

Freddie Burgess-Shardlow has an ectomesenchymoma, a rare and fast-growing tumour of the nervous system or soft tissue.

Emma Burgess, 36, said she and partner Katie Woodward, 34, first found a lump in their son’s testicles in March. 

The pair took their son to the doctors straight away, with medics initially believing it was a sign of a hernia – common in babies. 

Freddie Burgess-Shardlow has an ectomesenchymoma, a rare and fast-growing tumour of the nervous system or soft tissue

Ms Burgess and Ms Woodward claim they noticed his lump had grown ‘quite a bit’ while in Gran Canaria in May on holiday. 

However, Ms Burgess, a sales worker, said the couple ‘just put it down to the cabin pressure on the plane’.

When they returned home, Freddie was taken to the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston – his parents were working nearby in Skegness.

Ms Burgess said doctors told them it was an abnormal growth after being referred to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.

‘They said it was a hydrocele and told us if it had not gone down by the time he was 18-months-old to come back for a check-up,’ she said.

A hydrocele is a type of swelling in the scrotum considered common in newborns. It occurs when fluid surrounds the testicle.

Emma Burgess (right), 36, said she and partner Katie Woodward (left), 34, first found a lump in Freddie's testicles in March

Emma Burgess (right), 36, said she and partner Katie Woodward (left), 34, first found a lump in Freddie’s testicles in March

The pair took their son to the doctors straight away, with medics initially believing it was a sign of a hernia - common in babies (pictured with Ms Burgess)

The pair took their son to the doctors straight away, with medics initially believing it was a sign of a hernia – common in babies (pictured with Ms Burgess)

WHAT IS AN ETECTOMESENCHYMOMA? 

An etectomesenchymoma is a rare and fast-growing tumour of the nervous system or soft tissue.

Only 64 cases of the cancer were reported before 2015, while only eight of those were documented to have developed in the scrotum. 

Cancer Research UK statistics reveal just eight children under the age of nine are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year, on average. 

The disease most commonly affects men aged 15 to 45, with around 2,200 cases diagnosed each year in the UK. 

Despite being reassured Freddie would get better and the swelling would go down, Ms Burgess said he just kept on getting more poorly.

They took him back to see a doctor in June, who said the lump was a solid mass. He underwent a scan on June 27. 

He ended up having the lump and his right testicle removed five days later, to allow doctors to investigate the mass.

His parents were told it was unlikely to be cancer because he was too young – but two weeks later he was diagnosed with an ectomesenchymoma.

Only 64 cases of the cancer were reported before 2015, while only eight of those were documented to have developed in the scrotum.

Freddie was started on nine gruelling rounds of chemotherapy after the diagnosis, which he has every 21 days.

His parents said the emotional impact had been enormous. They have been staying at Billy’s House in Nottingham.

It is operated by children’s cancer charity Clic Sargent, and offers families a free place to stay while their son or daughter is in hospital.

Ms Woodward said that despite undergoing chemotherapy, Freddie is still a ‘happy little boy’. ‘He’s not been too bad,’ she said.

His parents were told it was unlikely to be cancer because he was too young - but two weeks later he was diagnosed with an ectomesenchymoma

His parents were told it was unlikely to be cancer because he was too young – but two weeks later he was diagnosed with an ectomesenchymoma

‘He’s still happy. But it has been heartbreaking. We try not to cry around him so he does not get upset. 

‘Sometimes he has times when he does not want to eat anything. But he’s still a happy little boy. He flirts with all the nurses and he has his favourite.’ 

His older sister Holly Burgess, 19, who lives in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, is raising money for both the Queen’s Medical Centre and Clic Sargent. 

She said: ‘He has been brilliant. It has been difficult but you just have to pick yourself up and get on with it.

‘I’m feeling OK for the abseiling, getting more and more nervous, but I see Freddie and I get reminded of the reasons for doing it.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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